Brave Elden Ring player dies at least 2,333 times across "2-3 months" beating the RPG at level 1 even though "I'm terrible at these games"

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Elden Ring, like all of FromSoftware's famously challenging action RPGs, has been trivialized in about a million different ways. Two Malenias at once, no-hit randomizer runs, literal mind games – the list goes on. Arguably the most popular way to absolutely flex on the denizens of the Lands Between is clearing the whole game without leveling up a single time, with Elden Ring now a major part of the OneBros Reddit community where unleveled FromSoft diehards gather. 

Compared to more niche speedruns and challenges, a lot of people have beaten Elden Ring at level one. So I wasn't immediately over the moon when I saw Reddit user Educational-Umpire42 celebrate their first level one clear. "Good job, gamer," I thought, fully intending to scroll on by. But something caught my eye, and as I sifted through their record of this familiar feat, including a hand-drawn journal tracking their boss clears, Educational-Umpire gradually became my favorite OneBro ever. Because in their words, they are not the kind of Capital-G Gamer who you'd expect to take on a task like this. In fact, they're "terrible at these games" but did the level one challenge anyway, and I think that's wonderful. 

I just completed my first level one run on any of the souls games except I’m terrible at these games! (Death counts + tier list) from r/Eldenring

In response to other impressed onlookers, Educational-Umpire explained that the run took "152 hours over two-to-three months" because "it was very on and off with some bosses being roadblocks that stopped me playing for a bit." 

Their Elden Ring journal, which brings back fond memories of the chronicles that artists made following the RPG's release, sheds some light on what those roadblocks were. Their lovingly illustrated record tallies up how many attempts the major bosses took them, and notes whether they used a summonable spirit to help with the battles.

Act surprised: Malenia was the biggest killer, with a staggering 803 recorded attempts before she was finally defeated on a no-hit run. Our legendary umpire also jotted down the first time they successfully dodged her infamous Water Fowl Dance combo – what looks like several hundred attempts in – and the first time they reached her second phase. 

Godfrey, the real one, was another big threat with 453 tallied deaths. Mohg, Lord of Blood also put up a good fight with 210 attempts. Interestingly, the final boss duo, notorious for occasionally boiling down to "pure RNG" as Educational-Umpire argues in one Reddit reply, only took 143 attempts. The likes of Godrick the Grafted, meanwhile, were trounced in one attempt. Get trounced, idiot.

Elden Ring Godrick boss fight

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

I'm especially fascinated by their reasoning for when and when not to use spirit summons, which cuts through to the only meaningful takeaway from the farcical debate over whether mechanics that FromSoftware added to Elden Ring are fair to use while playing Elden Ring (they are). 

"It was out of respect and fun factor," Educational-Umpire writes. "If I didn’t respect how a boss achieved its difficulty, e.g a poorly designed/balanced gank like Godskin Duo or Fia's guards, and if I don’t find it enjoyable/fun, e.g sitting in Fire Giant's phase two for 15 minutes or watching Regal Ancestor heal all my pitiful damage up 200 meters away. There was one exception being Loretta, which was done out of laziness as at attempt 40 I realised, 'holy fuck, this is gonna take 400 attempts, I’m not spending 400 attempts on Loretta.'"

All told, our hero died at least 2,333 times – a figure I want to reiterate because this is my kind of challenge run. Elden Ring diehards like Bushy make absurd challenges look easy, which is impressive in its own right, but it's equally impressive for less-skilled players to clear the same hurdles through sheer determination. And I say at least 2,333 because I'm assuming their Elden Ring-addled mind missed a few deaths as the whole journey blurred together in a gray smear of agony and respawns. Because yes, if you're wondering, they do say: "Before anyone asks, I do hate myself!"

FromSoftware's Hidetaka Miyazaki wants to make more games as big as Elden Ring: "If I am allowed, I want to try."

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.